» UKAS contributes to Brexit discussions

30 March, 2017

Since the Referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU last June, UKAS has been working to ensure that those within Government dealing with Brexit are aware of the importance of accreditation to the national economy, and also to trade with the EU and internationally. Regular meetings have been held with Ministers and officials in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) and the Department for International Trade (DIT). Following consultation with customers and stakeholders, the key messages passed to Government are:

  • Regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, it is vitally important for UK business that UKAS’ recognition as the UK National Accreditation Body continues.
  • Maintaining European and international recognition through continuing membership of EA, ILAC and IAF is extremely important for UKAS, for UKAS’ customers and for users of accredited services.
  • Continued access to notified bodies, or other mutually recognised bodies, will be important for UK businesses.
  • If new trade agreements are required between the UK and the EU, consideration will need to be given to how any required testing or inspection is carried out and how the competence of the organisations is assessed. Accreditation is likely to be required for this purpose.
  • It will be essential for UK industry that accreditation is given due recognition in any new international trade agreements that emerge.

Whilst the Government has not yet given any firm indication of how it will address these points, UKAS believes that these messages have been well received and understood.

The White Paper published in February 2017 (The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union) makes clear that the Government ‘will not be seeking membership of the Single Market but will pursue instead a new strategic partnership with the EU, including an ambitious and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement and a new customs agreement’.

The White Paper also states that, by leaving the EU, the UK ‘will have the opportunity to strike free trade agreements around the world’.

It is clear that accreditation will need to be factored into these new agreements to ensure that goods and services that are tested or certified in the UK are accepted by our trading partners. UKAS will continue to keep in close contact with Government to ensure that a good framework for accredited conformity assessment exists post-Brexit.